We all have that go-to banana bread recipe. Perhaps it’s committed to memory, jotted down on an index card in your mother or grandmother’s handwriting, or pinned on a pinterest board for easy access, but whenever you see those few spotted bananas sitting on the counter... you know what to do.
And what’s the deal with bananas anyway? Still green when you want to eat them, but past the point of consumption a day later. I used to find this irritating, but because I now see this as an excuse to make banana bread, I am no longer upset by the sight of the brown speckles starting to appear. The more spotted and brown the better, because the naturally sweeter your bread.
Through the years, I’ve had my own go-to banana bread recipe. I had two actually. But then I put miso in my banana bread for the first time and never looked back. Instead of becoming just a third option in the usual lineup, it’s become my new go-to, something that both my husband and I crave and enjoy on a regular basis.
Now you may be thinking, miso goes in soup, not in banana bread, but I’m here to assure you that this absolutely does work. Please trust me on this one. The sweetness of the banana and the saltiness of the miso are the perfect compliments and really elevate this banana bread from something common into something exciting and rather addicting.
A note about miso paste: most baking recipes involving miso tend to call for white miso because it has a more subtly sweet taste, but I personally think yellow miso works fine in this too. Maybe just steer clear of red or black miso paste, as I can't guarantee how that would alter the taste. I personally buy somewhat large packages of it at a time in the Japanese foods section of my grocery store, because especially since I started making this recipe on the reg, we go through it. I can't read the Japanese writing on it, but judging by the color (a golden, light brown) I'm guessing it falls under the yellow miso category. If you already have a container of miso in your fridge, this is a great way to use it up, and if not, buy whatever is affordable! We aren’t overly concerned with the quality of it in this, but we really are just looking for that salty, umami quality that miso is so well known for.
Initially, I used Food and Wine’s recipe as roadmap, adjusting it slightly to suit my preferences. Over time and practice, I’ve ended up with something that is so fine tuned that I needed to share it!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 small-medium super ripe bananas + 1 to top, if desired
1/3 cup oil or melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup miso paste
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
WHAT YOU’LL DO
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare a loaf pan by greasing and lining with parchment, with just two of the sides extended to make it easier to lift the loaf out later.
First combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda & powder, and cinnamon) in a small bowl.
Next, in another larger bowl mix together your oil or butter with the sugar thoroughly. Next add in your eggs and beat until the mixture is fluffy and lightened in color. Add in the miso paste, then the buttermilk and vanilla.
In a food processor or a blender, puree 4 of your bananas. Add your banana puree to the wet ingredients.
Note: Many people prefer to mash their bananas by hand, and that is totally fine here too! But I prefer mine completely pureed and almost frothy. I think it makes for a softer consistency to the bread and an even banana flavor throughout with no chunks.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. You don’t want to over mix here, some lumps will occur and are just fine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
If you have room in the pan and would like to, split your remaining banana in half lengthwise and place it on top of the loaf. No need to push it down, it will naturally sink and the bread will rise up around it.
Bake for roughly 60-70mins. Check for doneness at one hour by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out without batter/ with small crumbs, its done.
Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before removing the loaf, then lift the loaf out of the pan (using the overlapping parchment) to finish the cooling process.
Note: If you have a 10x5 inch pan, you definitely have room for this— but if you have a 9x5 inch like me, you may choose to use only half of the banana (you can even slice that half again lengthwise to make two long, thin banana slices) to avoid adding weight to push the batter up the sides or forgo it altogether to make sure your loaf doesn’t spill out as it rises during baking.